Hands-On With The Peren Nera, A Transylvanian Gem Turns out there's more going on in Dracula's back yard than we thought… by Rob Nudds April 09, 2020 MIN READHands-On With The Peren Nera, A Transylvanian Gem
Okay. I know what’s going on. I know you and your workmates are probably running a Skype-based sweepstake centered on how many sentences it’s going to take me to make a vampire-based pun. This is an article about the Transylvanian Peren Nera, after all. The answer is six…
Do you remember when you were first bitten by the watchmaking bug? For Peren founder Andy Bica that moment must loom large in his mind as he steers his uniquely Transylvanian ship towards its second mechanical model. I stress mechanical as Peren has a few quartz-powered models in its back catalog. I’m going to rip the band-aid off in one go and say this: I do not like any of them and the company only became interesting to me with the launch of the Nera. But, credit where credit is due, Peren has changed my opinion.
Changing my opinion on a brand is not easy. For me, giving Peren a second look speaks volumes of the amount of interest I have in the Nera and the upcoming Hintz. To say the company has turned a corner would be a massive understatement, in my opinion. But what is it I like about the Peren Nera specifically?
Color reigns supreme
There are a few good ways to distinguish oneself from the crowd. You may not be the tallest, most muscular, or erudite person in the room. But donning an outfit in an unusual hue is sure to get your noticed. In that sense, color reigns supreme. Its deft application can transform a boring dial into the stuff of legend. And that is rarely truer than in watchmaking. With the majority of chromatic expression occurring on the dial (which is generally a canvas measuring just 3-4cm in width), the slightest flash of character can send watch buyers into a frenzy. Alternatively, brands can opt to go for a restricted but unusual colorway. That’s what we’re seeing here with the Peren Nera.
The deep teal dial of the Nera is something else. A worldwide survey a couple of years back established that a shade not wholly dissimilar from this one was the world’s favorite color. Somewhere between blue and green seems to be the ticket. It is at once serene and lively. And while it may not be your favorite color, it doesn’t seem to have too many haters from the limited ask-around I conducted in the run-up to writing this review.
Details, details, details
So when a brand decides to go down a less-trodden path when it comes to the dial color, committing to it whole-hog is key. And what is it small brands hoping to make a name for themselves must pay attention to? Details, details, details, of course! The Peren Nera succeeds in this endeavor by pairing this luscious teal dial with a matching date wheel. When it comes to a component worth blowing the budget on, that was it. Well done, Andy. You didn’t disappoint me. There are some images of the Nera with a white date wheel. Once upon a time, that was an option. It is no longer. So fear not, if you order a Nera today it will come with a color-matched wheel.
Keeping things simple with a crisp white typeface and painted white hands was wise too. The logo of Peren is a stylized set of fangs, which is pleasingly unobtrusive. It pops-up again on the crown, which is nicely machined, but we’ll get to the housing components momentarily.
I very much approve of the color choices here…
Prior to leaving the delightful dial behind, I will say this: While I very much approve of the color choices here, I do think the hands could be a little nicer. It isn’t so much the style I have a problem with, but more the execution. I feel the paint — which is a touch glossier than I would have liked — comes off a little cheap. In real life on the wrist, it doesn’t bother me. But under a loupe, I was not blown away. A small gripe regarding an otherwise excellent visage. The hand length, however, is excellent.
The Peren Nera is an oddly proportioned little guy. The39mm diameter is refreshingly petite, and its wide bezel and small dial opening make it look even narrower. But spindly lugs and a notable thickness (of about 13.5mm) do mean that it stands up on the wrist. The supplied strap is heartily thick and adds to the weird wearing experience out of the box, but it softens after a few days and the Nera becomes much more comfortable. The buckle has a Panerai vibe to it and is totally fine for a micro at this price point, but I’m not sure it harmonizes with the case as well as it could have done. To be honest, something simpler (and even cheaper to produce) might have been better.
…a stylistic quirk.
As mentioned in regards to the crown, the machining is great. The case and its finish certainly feel like good value for money in this sub-500 CHF bracket. But the best thing about this case is that bezel. Is it functional? Yes, in broad daylight or by a well-practiced touch you can actually use it to time things. But, realistically, this unidirectional “ghost” bezel (as I call it) is really a stylistic quirk.
The circularly brushed top surface is totally flat. It is surrounded by a steeply chamfered black ring with raised hour markings (the one at 12 is slightly bigger than the rest). In operation, the brushed portion of this bezel appears static. Would I wear this on a life-or-death stealth mission? Nope. But do I like how different it is? Yes. Yes, I do.
A solid value proposition
Brands like Peren are not going to appreciate wildly in value, if at all, ever. But they do offer a great way for more people to take an active part in an industry that can be perilously exclusive. For CHF 488 (normally CHF 580) the Peren Nera is a cool, slightly weird, definitely memorable watch. At that price, I think it is a solid value proposition. The movement — a self-winding, 28,800vph, ETA 2824-2 — is a nice choice.
It’s an even nicer choice in the current climate. Remember, the Nera launched a couple of seasons ago when 2824s were easily obtainable. Nowadays, microbrands are being forced to look elsewhere. And while the alternatives (like Sellita, STP, or Soprod, for example) are really good, ETAs are becoming a little more sought after than they were five years ago.
I like being impressed by microbrands. I am impressed by Peren. But even better than being impressed is being excited. And I am excited by the next piece due to come from this Transylvanian outfit. We’ve already arranged to get our hands on the Peren Hintz. I’m looking forward to sharing that one with you when the time comes. Learn more about Peren here.
Brand Peren ModelNeraDialDeep teal, or "Nera blue" inspired by the Devil's Lake of TransylvaniaCase Material316L stainless steelCase Dimensions39mm wide, 13.5mm thick, 48mm lug-to-lugCrystalSlightly domed sapphire crystalCase BackOpenMovementETA 2824-2Water Resistance200mStrapGenuine leather (tan)FunctionsTime and datePriceCHF 488Special Note(s)Color-matched date wheel Watch of the Week
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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